June 2, 2011

MKMW Catch up: Egypt & Greece

I took pictures--but then neglected my poor little blog for nearly a month.

As the summer gets unbearably hot, I tend to turn more towards salads and antipasta/meza/tapas-as-dinner sorts of meals. Which worked well for the My Kitchen, My World challenges these past two months.

For Egypt (April), I made a simple couscous salad, and served it with some melon on the side.

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Couscous salad
1 cup whole-wheat couscous
1.5 cups water

Boil water. Add couscous, turn off heat and cover. In about 5 minutes, uncover and fluff.

Cool slightly and add:
Halved cherry tomatoes
Mild onions, diced (soak in cold water if you're planning on leftovers so they don't get too spicy)
Fresh herbs (parsley, mint, basil)--a few tbsp. or to taste
1/4 cup feta crumbled
1-2 tsp. cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Serve warm, room temperature or cool. It would be good with chickpeas or shredded chicken.

For Greece (May), I made a simple Greek chicken salad. (and forgot to take a picture--it looked like a generic salad, but it was tasty!)

For two:

Homemade croutons: cube 1-2 slices of bread (we used Trader Joe's Tuscan pane). In a bowl, combine 2 tbsp. olive oil with dried herbs (oregano or Greek or Italian seasoning) and salt (I used Penzey's Greek seasoning mix). Drizzle olive oil over bread cubes and toss quickly to combine. I toasted them in the toaster oven on two short cycles. Otherwise, bake at about 350 for 10 minutes, then leave in the oven after it's turned off to dry.

Feta dressing: In food processor (or by hand) combine 1 cup yogurt (if you have Greek yogurt or labne, even better), 1/4 feta, 1 tbsp. Greek seasoning,* 1 tbsp. lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste (a little red pepper or chipotle pepper for a kick). *Penzey's includes garlic. Otherwise, add a clove of minced garlic or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder.

Cover each plate with lettuce. Add diced tomatoes, onions and cucumbers, and pitted and halved kalamata olives. Add diced or shredded cooked chicken (about 1/2 cup) (or other protein), croutons, crumbled feta, and dressing.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 9:28 AM | Comments (1)

February 28, 2011

My Kitchen, My World: Italy, Italian Wedding Soup

This challenge coincided nicely with Tim giving me the The Italian Slow Cooker cookbook*, and a Ravioli Press* for my birthday. So it's been something of an Italy month around here. Here are some pictures of our various meals (too lazy to put up all the recipes, but if there's a special request, let me know!), and my recipe for Italian wedding soup at the end of the post.

Started with making some homemade ravioli. Mixed some ricotta in with several odds and ends of cheese I was trying to use up before a trip, and an egg. Very fun, and I feel like I've gotten the hang of the pasta roller enough that it was very doable.

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Then I combined a couple of recipes from the Italian Slow Cooker cookbook to make turkey cacciatore. Started with her recipe for chicken ragu, and ended up throwing some sliced onions, sauteed bell peppers, wine and an extra can of tomatoes into the mix to make it more cacciatore-ish.

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And another night, we had the pasta faziole from the same book (with some kale thrown in for good measure).

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This past week, I made spaghetti with meatballs one night, saved a few of the meatballs, and made Italian wedding soup a few days later.

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Had some fun cultural pairings with the meals, too. Watched Big Night on one of the nights. Another night, Tim was doing his opera homework and watching Donizetti while I cooked.

I've made Italian wedding soup probably a dozen times or so, different every time. Basically, broth, veggies, greens, pasta, meatballs and usually, chicken meat as well. Here's the process I did last night.

Italian Wedding Soup (5-6 main course servings)

1 carrot, diced
1 onion, diced
1 celery stick, diced
5-7 cloves garlic, minced
1 chicken breasts OR 3 turkey wings (with skin and bones if you're making stock) OR 1 chicken breast (boneless, skinless) if you have stock and you have meatballs
1/2- 1 lb. Meatballs (mini meatballs if you're making them by hand, regular meatballs are fine)
2 quarts broth
1 bunch kale (or spinach or mild cabbage or whatever greens your family prefers
Handful of fresh herbs,chopped (I used basil and parsley) or dried herbs
8 oz. small pasta (last night, I used orrechiette)
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesan for serving

1) If you're making stock, start earlier in the day. Toss the turkey or chicken into a crockpot (or do this on the stove), cover with broth, cook for 5-6 hours until tender. Remove, shred chicken, return bones and skin to the crockpot. At this point, you can add some veggies or some vegetable scraps into it. Cook for a couple more hours, strain.
2) Make meatballs, if you're doing homemade. You can do it with some of the shredded meat from the chicken/turkey, or you can make some with ground meat. Here's one recipe I've used. I usually pre-cook the meatballs to make them firm.
3) Sautee the celery, carrots, onion, garlic in a little olive oil until translucent (medium heat in a large pot)
4) Optional: You could just dump the veggies into the crockpot at this point into the strained stock.
5) But I continued on the stove-top. Add the stock, and bring to a simmer (maybe 5-10 minutes). Then add the greens, meatballs, shredded chicken/turkey and herbs. It's better to cook the pasta separately, especially if you're planning leftovers. Usually I'm too lazy though, so just add the pasta at this time and cook until al dente. Add salt (not too much since parmesan is coming!) and pepper to taste
7) Serve with parmesan and good bread

*Amazon Affiliates link

Posted by Tim and Jo at 9:05 AM | Comments (1)

January 8, 2011

MKMW Germany: New Year's Eve Sauerkraut

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A bit late in getting this up as we were gone over the holidays. But we spent New Year's Eve with Tim's family. And apparently, it's an old tradition in Tim's family, as we were reminded by his Grandma, to cook sauerkraut for midnight to ring in the new year. They have Slovakian heritage, but I'm sure there are similar traditions around Europe.

I improvised with what they had in the house, and put it on medium low to simmer for the evening. It was sweet and smoky, rather than primarily sour, by the end. This could easily be done in a slow cooker (like the Alsatian choucroute garni I made awhile back).

New Year's Eve Sauerkraut
2 lb. bag of sauerkraut (I wouldn't use canned, but that's up to you--if you use, I'd rinse it)
1-2 lbs. kielbasa, sliced
1/2 lb. ham, diced (or cooked pork)
2-3 apples cored and thinly slice
1 beer
1/2 cup wine (we had some apple wine from Tim's niece)
2-3 tsps. onion and/or garlic powder-or-salt (use fresh garlic and onion if you have it)
Pepper and salt to taste

Combine everything, bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 4:57 PM | Comments (3)

September 30, 2010

My Kitchen, My World: Morocco

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It's been awhile since I've done one of these My Kitchen, My World challenges. And I'm sliding this one in right under the wire.

Started the week out with roasting a chicken. And I think I met my culinary demise. It turned into a logistical nightmare, not getting done, even after giving it much more time than called for. I think that my oven doesn't heat up to the right temperature, so I often just make meals in my toaster oven, or just rely on my crockpots. It finally got done after the kids' bedtime (I shoved it into our toaster oven, barely fit, but finished it up nicely), and we have the remains in the crockpot. I diced up some of that chicken for this recipe.

And the fun bit of this recipe was finding a fairly simple recipe for ras el hanout, which I adapted for the spices I had in my cupboard. As I was creating this, I was reminiscing about our lovely Moroccan dinner for our anniversary, especially the b'stella (a sweet, cinnamony poultry pie), and tried to bring out the counterpoint between perfumed, savory spices against sweetness that fascinated me in the cuisine. I served some fancy olives beside the stew because it seemed the thing to do.

Moroccan chicken stew with herb and fruit couscous

Stew
1/2 large onion (or one small), diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. ras el hanous, divided
2 cups crushed tomatoes (or sauce)
1 can or 2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup golden raisins (sultanas)
2-3 tbsp. amaretto liquor (or 1/2-1 tsp. almond extract)*
1 cup cooked chicken (or raw, just give it a little more time in the slow cooker or pan
A few tablespoons almonds or cashews

1) Sautee onion and garlic along with 1 tbs. ras el hanout in a little oil until tender
2) Add pureed tomatoes to the pan (along with a little broth, if you'd like)
3) At this point, either add all but the final two ingredients to the pan, and simmer until tender OR dump the contents plus all but last two ingredients into a crockpot on low for a few hours (what I did)
4) When you start the couscous, add the amaretto to the pan, along with 2-3 tsp. more of the ras el hanout
5) Serve alongside or over couscous, sprinkle with almonds or cashews

Couscous
3 cups water or broth
1/4 cup dried fruit, diced (I used a mixed bag with apples, pears, apricots and plums, but you can pick one or use a mix that you like or just use raisins)
1.5 cups couscous
Handful of fresh herbs, chopped (I used basil, but cilantro or parsley would be quite nice)

1) Boil water (add salt if not using broth) with the dried fruit
2) When water is boiling, add couscous and 2-3 tbsp. ras el hanout, and turn stove off
3) Cover for 5-10 minutes until water is absorbed. Stir in fresh herbs and fluff

And go to the My Kitchen, My World blog in a day or two for a post with pictures of everyone else's lovelies (they're so inspiring!).

*I know that using alcohol would be non-traditional, but this was added a nutty and sweet flavor to the stew.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 4:45 PM | Comments (4)

July 10, 2010

Kielbasa, corn and shrimp chowder (doubling as MKMW America)

Looks like the chowders have it, folks!

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I started with the Joy of Cooking corn chowder, and improvised a bit

Kielbasa, corn, and shrimp chowder

1/2 lb. kielbasa or other smoked sausage, diced
1 large onion, diced or 1 leek (white and green parts diced)
[a stick or two of celery diced would be nice, but I didn't have one on hand]
3 medium potatoes, peeled if you like, and diced
3 large ears of corn, kernels sliced off and reserved, along with cobs
2 12-oz cans evaporated milk (I used one can no-fat and one 2%) + 3 cups water (or 4.5 cups milk)
2 tbsp. seafood or chicken base
1 tsp. dried thyme, crumbled
1/2-1 lb. peeled baby or small shrimp (I used some localish white shrimp)

1) Saute kielbasa in a little oil in a large saucepan, with the onion or leek until vegetables are tender
2) Add milk, water, thyme, and soup base. Drop in the corn cobs and the potatoes.
3) Simmer gently until potatoes are tender (about 10 minutes). Taste and season with salt and pepper.
4) Add the corn kernels, simmer gently for 4-5 minutes. If you like, at this pointyou can puree a little of the mixture to make it more thick, but this isn't necessary.
5) Add shrimp. Cook until pink (probably just 1-2 minutes for baby shrimp).
6) Serve. Dab a little butter on each portion if you'd like (or not!).

Sometimes with a soup like this, I'll sprinkle a little chipotle powder or smoked paprika in it to deepen the smokiness. I can't remember if I did it this time, but chances are, yes I did.

And don't forget to check out the My Kitchen, My World blog later this month for some fun recipes from all around America.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 10:20 PM | Comments (3)

June 10, 2010

My Kitchen, My World: India

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Okay, it's been a couple of months since I've participated in this challenge. I keep on making the foods--from Mexico (enchiladas) and even Russia (Russian spiced meatballs)--but I just didn't get on the ball as far as blogging about it goes.

So, I got an early start this month. I sort of made this up as I went when I found some frozen beef that I had forgotten about.

I paired it with an Indian veggie pack. Let me just give a shout out to those packs. If you've ever been to an Indian market, you've seen them lining the walls. I don't know why it took me so long to try them, or even who introduced me to them, but they're a staple in our house now. I did have a bit of ego dip when I realized that a $.99 package of curry from a store shelf was better than any Indian curry that I had ever made, but in time, I reconciled myself.

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We actually have a shelf devoted to them. When I've been away with piano lessons, Tim pulls a pack out and makes himself lunch and dinner from a couple of them and some rice.

So, I paired the beef curry with a veggie pack (Navratam Korma), rice, and some pickles. I tend to make my curries on the mild side and let people spice it up with the pickles (which can range the whole gamut from savory to sweet to sour to fiery, depending on the kind and brand).

And to continue the theme of the evening, we drank Indian monsoon coffee (soooo nice. And really inexpensive at the Dekalb Farmer's Market), and watched an episode of Bizarre Foods taking place in India.

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Beef and chickpea curry
Vegetable oil
1 tbsp. mild curry powder
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
3-4 cardamom pods
1 tsp. cinnamon (or a cinnamon stick)
2 tsp. garam masala
2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. (or to taste) cayenne or chipotle pepper

1 lb. beef cubes [you can use stew meat or make your own]
1 large onion
6 large garlic cloves, minced
6 red potatoes, cubed
3 carrots, sliced
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 cups beef broth (or water)
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
2 cups. cooked chickpeas
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Heat the oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan) on medium-high. Drop in the seed spices (fennel, cumin, cardamom). When they pop, add the powdered spices. Stir until toasty, but not burnt (turn the heat down a little if you need to.
2) Brown the meat in the mixture. Add the onions and garlic, and stir until onions are tender.
3) Add the beef broth. Simmer on medium-low heatwith lid on for 30-45 minutes, until meat is starting to become tender. Add the potatoes, carrots, golden raisins, and coconut milk. Cook for another 30 minutes until vegetables are tender.
4) Add the chickpeas, cook until warmed through. Turn the heat off, and add the lemon juice. Serve with rice or naan, and condiments.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 8:15 PM | Comments (3)

April 1, 2010

Anyone want to travel to Russia with me?

Virtually speaking, of course?

It's time for another My Kitchen, My World challenge, and I'm really excited about this one.

Maybe this will inspire me to finally finish reading the Brothers Karamazov...I just didn't quite make it through it again on this go-'round (though it's a stunning book, and I'd recommend it as one of the most powerful novels I've ever read).

Anyone have suggestions for cool Russian movies to watch? Or foods to make?

Rather non-sequiter, but a really fun place to visit--especially if you're in the NYC area--Little Russia By the Sea (and follow-up posts here and here and here).

Also, anyone is invited to participate in the challenge, so if you want to make a dinner and post it on your blog, you're welcome to leave a link on this post at the My Kitchen, My World site by the end of April. It would be so fun if someone joined us.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 2:12 PM | Comments (1)

March 21, 2010

My Kitchen, My World: Ireland

I'm finally, finally getting back into the My Kitchen, My World challenge. It's been a busy few months. We're actively working on simplifying our life. More on that in another post.

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The challenge this month was Ireland. I made colcannon (otherwise known as bubble-and-squeak) and beer-battered fish--the one time a year I deep-fry (I had trouble even typing that out) (but I saw that most of the oil did stay in the pot, so I had it at the right temperature so that most of it didn't get absorbed). I used the same basic recipe and technique for beer battered fish that I used last year around this time.

And, as is traditional for our My Kitchen, My World challenges, we found something to watch with it. This time around, it was the lovely (and heart-rending) indy film, In America. And we had both forgotten that colcannon plays a brief, but important part in the movie.

We told the kids that we were having bubble and squeak, thinking they'd like the name. Elanor protested, "Elno no want bubble and skeek, Elno want bubble in baf."

I started with the Extending the Table version of colcannon, and tweaked it (such a great cookbook!). I made tons, since we had some potatoes to use up, and I also want to make some shepherd's pie with the leftovers. The recipe had 1-to-1 proportions between the cabbage and potatoes, but it's flexible.

Colcannon

About 3 lbs. of potatoes (Tim: There was no potato famine in our house last night)
About 1 lb. of cabbage (I used about 1/2 of a very large head)
1 cup diced chives or green onions (I pulled some wild onions out of a friend's yard)
12 oz. evaporated milk (or milk or cream)
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Peel, dice and boil potatoes until tender
2) Boil/steam the cabbage for 5-10 minutes until tender. I put water in the bottom of a large sauce pan, and tossed the cabbage around. Doing it for such a short time kept it from smelling and tasting funky.
3) Puree cabbage.
4) Drain and mash potatoes. Stir in the cabbage, milk, and onions. Stir together, mashing slightly, to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with butter, if you'd like.

I also made a little homemade tartar sauce, using about a cup of mayonnaise, the juice of half a lime, 1 tsp. of Penzey's creamy peppercorn spice mix, and a few slices of dill pickle, minced.

Today, I took the leftover fish and made fish tacos. I just sliced some of the leftover cabbage, and layered the fish, cabbage, salsa, and some tartar sauce on warmed corn tortillas.

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 7:23 PM | Comments (2)

October 22, 2009

My Kitchen, My World: Oktoberfest, Alsatian choucroute garni

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So, my dish for the My Kitchen, My World challenge this month (Germany/Oktoberfest) was almost German--choucroute from the Germanic region of France (Alsace). It's a great peasant dish (goes nicely with the immigrant approach to cooking that I'm trying to implement), affordable, variable and very warming on a chilly October evening.

And I want to give a shout-out for the MKMW challenge, it's so fun! At this point, it's going to a once-a-month format. It's a great way to try new foods, and also to get great ideas from the wonderful foods the other bloggers make. Homeschool moms (and others!)--this would be such a fun thing to plan a teaching unit around. If I were homeschooling, I would totally plan a unit with food, music, history, and culture of a particular country. And anyone is invited to join the challenge.

I looked at several recipes, and improvised a crockpot version of it. It made about 8-10 servings. Rinsing the sauerkraut, and then pairing it with sweet apples and smoky meats makes it savory rather than sour.

Choucroute garni

4 lbs. sauerkraut, soaked and rinsed (bagged, not canned) (I used two bags)
2 lbs. assorted meats (I used hot dogs, bratwurst, Italian sausage, and smoked/Polish sausage)
2 lbs. red potatoes, diced
1 large apple, peeled cored and diced
2 onions diced
1-2 tbsp. mixed peppercorns
A few dashes liquid smoke
1 tbsp. herbes de provence (I didn't have caraway or juniper berries, use those instead if you have them)
1 beer (French or German) OR more authentic, 2 cups of white wine (Riesling)

1) Rinse and drain sauerkraut in cold water, repeat as necessary until its sourness is reduced to your taste
2) Put half of the sauerkraut in the crockpot
3) Add onions, potatoes, and apple
4) Lay meats on top.
5) Sprinkle with peppercorns and herbes de provence
6) Layer rest of sauerkraut on top
7) Shake on liquid smoke (optional)
8) Pour beer or wine on top
9) Cook on high 4-5 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours, until potatoes are tender and meat is done (if you're using any uncooked meats)
10) Put sauerkraut on platter, layer with potatoes. Slice meats and serve alongside the sauerkraut

Posted by Tim and Jo at 10:40 AM | Comments (2)

July 3, 2009

My Kitchen, My World: Macedonia

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Okay, here's my take on Macedonian foods, using some traditional ingredients (though I didn't use a traditional recipe, I just worked from some stuff we had on hand). The main dish was peppers stuffed with bulgur wheat, sausage, and feta. I served it along with olives (Greek and kalamata), pita bread with a garlic-yogurt sauce, and tomatoes with pesto. This is a nice thing to do with seasonal ingredients these days (a la CSA boxes, even though we took a short break from those with friends out of town and went to a farmer's market instead).

Stuffed peppers with bulgur wheat, sausage, and feta

8-10 small to medium bell peppers (I used green, use any color you'd like), with tops cut off, deseeded, and any large veins pulled out
1/2 lb. sausage (I used feta and sun-dried tomato chicken sausage)
1 large onion, diced finely
1 cup bulgur wheat
2 cups of water
4-5 sundried tomatoes in oil, diced (I use kitchen scissors for these)
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup golden raisins
Salt and pepper to taste
A few tablespoons fresh herbs (I used parsley--mint or basil would be nice)
1/2 tsp. all-spice (if desired--I added too much by hand, eek)
Some more feta for sprinkling, if desired.

1) Cook sausage and onions, removing casings and crumbling in pan. Drain if needed.
2) Add bulgur wheat and water, cook until water is mostly absorbed (about 5-10 minutes) (it will cook further in the pepper.
3) Turn the heat off, and stir in the other ingredients
4) Stuff the peppers
5) At this point, I froze the peppers, wrapping individually in plastic wrap, and dropping them in baggies (we have enough for several more meals).
6) Cook at 375 for about 40-50 minutes (longer if frozen), until peppers are tender.
7) Alternatively--I might do this next time--drop peppers in the crockpot, with an inch or so of water or tomato sauce, and cook on low for 4-5 hours. This would make the peppers more tender (I'll let you know when I try this out). Or I've seen some recipes that parboil the peppers for a few minutes so that they'll be more tender.
8) Garnish with crumbled feta

Feta and garlic yogurt sauce

2 cups Greek yogurt (this stuff is so thick and yummy, even the non-fat stuff)
1 head roasted garlic (I had some on hand, you can use fresh garlic, but use much, much less, maybe 2-4 cloves) (If you want to roast your own, peel the papery stuff off the garlic leaving the cloves intact on the head, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil, cook at 400 for about an hour, until cloves are tender and a little caramelized)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
A pinch of chipotle powder or chili powder, if desired.

[this would be tzatziki sauce if you added some shredded cucumber. It would also be lovely with some fresh herbs, mint or parsley, or tomatoes]

1) Squeeze the garlic cloves into a bowl. Mash together with the salt until pasty
2) Stir in the yogurt, crumbled feta and any herbs, spices or vegetables you'd like.

Tomatoes with pesto

Not even going to bother with a recipe here! I just sliced a few cherry tomatoes in half, and dolloped them with a little bit of prepared pesto (lemon, basil and caper pesto from the Dekalb Farmer's Market). They would make lovely appetizers for a party, they're so bright and fresh looking.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2009

My Kitchen, My World: Switzerland (and CSA!)

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Okay, I got to do some double-duty with this meal, using up the rest of the potatoes from our CSA box a few weeks ago. I've made Swiss fondue numerous times, so I wanted to try something a little different for the MKMW challenge--so I made rosti. I found a recipe on Epicurious, and modified it a bit. Here's the original,with my modifications in brackets, and some notes at the end.

Rosti with ham, green onions, and cheese

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter [I used much less, about two tablespoons total, and combined it with a little oil so it wouldn't burn]
3/4 cup chopped onion [I used a bit more, one large onion]
1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, coarsely grated [I used about 2 lbs.]
1/2 cup 1/4-inch cubes Black Forest ham or other smoked ham [I diced up some hickory-smoked ham lunchmeat we had]
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives [I used 4-5 green onions instead]
[I also added fresh thyme, pulling the leaves off a couple of sprigs, and I grated some really good Swiss cheese that we had leftover from something to top the rosti]

2 large eggs [I omitted these, but they would have been good!]

Preheat oven to 425 F. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion; saute 5 minutes. Place 2 1/2 cups grated potatoes in medium bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to blend (reserve any remaining potatoes for another use) [I made a smaller one with the leftover potato mixture]. Stir onion mixture, ham, and chives into potatoes.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in same skillet over high heat. Add potato mixture. Using spatula, press mixture to even thickness, covering skillet bottom completely. Cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high. Cook until potato cake is golden on bottom, about 7 minutes. Loosen cake; slide out onto large plate or rimless baking sheet. Turn skillet upside down atop cake. Invert skillet and plate, dropping cake back into skillet. Cook cake until golden on bottom, about 7 minutes. Place skillet in oven. Bake until Rosti is crisp, about 7 minutes [at this point, I sprinkled the rosti with shredded Swiss cheese, which melted in the oven].

Meanwhile, melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Crack each egg and drop into skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Partially cover skillet; cook until egg whites are set, about 3 minutes [I omitted the eggs].

Cut Rosti into 4 wedges. Overlap 2 wedges of Rosti on each of 2 plates; top Rosti wedges on each plate with 1 egg.

Notes:

*Don't try this without a non-stick pan. Don't even try it with a used-to-be-nonstick-until-we-put-it-in-the-dishwasher pan. Especially if you're cutting down the butter content. That pan turned into sticky hashbrowns which were fed to the kids.

*The huge rosti was pretty and dramatic, but I think that making smaller ones would be much easier, and risk fewer burns to hands, cutting boards, and other kitchen equipment. The whole flipping it out of the pan thing was difficult, especially with such a hot pan.

*The fresh thyme was so good, it added a green, floral note that made the meal feel fancier. The melty cheese on top was really nice as well.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 1:58 PM | Comments (2)

May 12, 2009

My Kitchen, My World: Mexico

Okay, better late than never, right?

For, the Mexican food challenge last week, I made an enchilada casserole. I needed to use up stuff we had in the house (hint: this works great for using up stale tortillas), so feel free to alter at to use up what you needed finished--leftover meats, assorted veggies, etc. could replace the rice.

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Use-it-up Enchilada Casserole

1 large onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced or 1-2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. chili powder (or to taste)
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. chipotle powder (or a chipotle chili diced with sauce, or jalapenos, or chipotle hot pepper sauce to taste) (this dish ended up fairly mild, so if you want a bite, add more)
1 tsp. smoked paprika
About 16-18 6-inch corn tortillas
2-3 cups refried beans (I had some in the freezer from the bean marathon a few weeks ago)
1 15-oz can corn kernels (or fresh would be even better, or 2 cups frozen kernels)
4 cups tomato juice (or a couple of cans of diced tomatoes with juice)
2 cups cheese, grated
2 cups cooked rice

1) Fry the onions, garlic, and spices in a little oil over medium-high heat, until onions are transparent and spices are fragrant (note--this is a trick I learned from Indian curries--by frying the spices instead of adding them in the end, you deepen and intensify the flavors)
2) Add tomato juice and corn, lower heat to medium-low, simmer until thick.
3) Add 1 cup of the tomato mixture and a half cup cheese to rice
4) Pour a little of the tomato juice into bottom of a 13x9 pan
5) Spread tortillas with refried beans.
6) Layer: tortillas (overlapping as needed), rice mixture, tomato sauce; repeat layers, end with a layer of tortillas, sprinkle with remaining cheese
7) Bake covered at 400 for 45 minutes, uncover and cook another 10-15 minutes until hot and cheese is melted
8) Serve with salsa or sour cream

Posted by Tim and Jo at 8:09 PM | Comments (1)

April 26, 2009

My Kitchen, My World: Turkey

So, for Turkey day (*grin*), I decided to pull out a meal that I haven't made in ages. Shwarma. Or Shewarma. Or any variation of the same general transliterated sounds. I made flat bread, baba ghanoush, and chicken schwarma

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It's like a heavily spiced, Middle-Eastern take on gyros. So good! You can use ground beef, lamb, chicken, etc. I used chicken breasts. You can also use a variety of sauces with it--from a garlic yogurt sauce, to a garlic mayonaisse based sauce, to my own take on it, baba ghanoush. It sounds complicated here, but it really can be a very easy meal (especially with ground beef or turkey, and using regular tortillas--no harder than making burritos).

I decided to try to make my own flat bread. I found a recipe that suggested using a regular bread recipe, not letting it rise, rolling it out and cooking it on a pan/griddle. It turned out something between pita bread and naan.

Flat bread
3 c. bread flour
1 c. whole wheat (next time I would use more white and less wheat)
2 tsp. salt
1 1/3 c. water
5 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. yeast

1) Mix together and knead by hand or in bread machine (I used a bread machine)
2) I let it rise, and then divided it up into 8 balls (which deflated it)
3) Cover and let rest for 10-15 minutes (I think it would have been more resilient with less whole wheat)
4) Heat large pan to medium high/high.
5) Roll out one ball into a thin round
6) Add a little oil (optional if non-stick) to skillet, add flat bread, cook until brown and blistered on one side, turn over and cook that side. It only takes 2-3 minutes at the most
7) Wrap flatbread in towel, and continue with others
8) Eat fresh, or put in bag, and warm up later (I found a little cooking spray before warming it up made it nice and soft)

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Baba ghanoush (okay, I cheated on this one)

1) Take one can baba ghanoush (about 14 oz., sometimes at a grocery store, but definitely at any kind of Middle-Eastern store). Mix (or blend) in:

2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. chipotle pepper powder (or just cayenne pepper to taste
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt to taste

Chicken Schewarma
1) Take 1 lb. of chicken breast, very thinly sliced
2) Marinate for at least one hour up to 24 hours in:

1 tbsp. schewarma spice or Middle Eastern mixed spice or make your own (something like: 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. coriander, 1 tsp. all-spice, ground chilis to taste)
3 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. olive oil.

3) Stir fry in medium-hot pan until chicken is cooked through
4) Serve on flatbreads with baba ghanoush or other sauce, and your choice of diced tomatoes, cucumbers or onions, shredded lettuce, and dill pickle relish (probably better if using the mayo base),

schwarma feast.JPG

Posted by Tim and Jo at 12:10 AM | Comments (4)

March 21, 2009

My Kitchen, My World: Ireland

For Ireland, I decided to make beer battered fish and chips. Sort of generic Britain fare, I know, but we accented it with Irish creme coffee, beer, and the film version of Angela's Ashes (which has all sorts of poignant fish and chips moments in it, movie and book).

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For the fish, I found a very simple recipe, and tweaked it a tiny bit. I used about 12 ounces of tilapia, and had lots of leftover batter. Enough that I batter another 1/2 pound of shrimp and still had some left. So this batter would probably coat about 1.5-2 lbs. of fish. For the chips, I just baked some ready-made french fries.

1) Mix 1 cup beer mixed with 1 cup flour (I added a little salt and pepper) in a shallow bowl. Let set for a few minutes. I used a Samuel Adams Winter Ale, I think.
2) Put one plate out with flour
3) Meanwhile, heat 1/3 large saucepan of oil to 350 degrees (or hot enough to brown a cube of bread) (I used a little less oil).
4) Pat fish dry, dredge in flour, dip in batter, let excess drip off, and gently drop into hot oil
5) Cook until golden brown and fish is flaky (7-8 minutes for the thin fillets I had)
6) If you're doing shrimp, they only take 4-5 minutes
7) Drain on paper towels and serve hot

I think this was my first essay into deep frying. Not something that I want to do on a regular basis, but not as intimidating as I thought it would be.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 7:39 AM | Comments (4)

March 7, 2009

My Kitchen, My World: Spain

Last night, for the My Kitchen, My World challenge (which was on a brief hiatus, but thankfully is back in action!), we had a feast of tapas. I've been fascinated by tapas since visiting a local tapa bar, and watching Rick Steves visit Spain doesn't help.

So, here's our feast! And, of course, we had it with sherry. Cheap Californian sherry, not true Andalucian sherry, but still, quite lovely. On Monday, I'll add recipes, as we're going out of town this weekend.

Spanish tapas.JPG

Here we have: olives, bits of two cheeses, a spicy aioli-ish sauce I made to try to match what we had at the tapa bar, Gambas al Ajillo (shrimp in garlic sauce), potatoes with chorizo sausage, and a small loaf of bread.

Gambas al Ajillo (for 2-4 depending on how many other dishes you have)

On medium-high heat in a small saucepan, I fried 4 cloves of garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil, with 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika and 1/4 tsp. chipotle powder. After a minute, I added 1/2 lb. peeled medium shrimp, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tbsp. sherry, and sea salt and hot sauce to taste. It only took 2-3 minutes until the shrimp were pink, then I added a few sprigs of chopped parsley.

Serve sizzling from the pan.

Potatoes with chorizo (serves 4-6)

I looked at a couple of recipes for this, one for patatas bravas, and another for a potato and chorizo stew, and then combined them.

Combine 3-4 tbsp. olive oil with 4-6 minced garlic cloves, 2 tsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. each of smoked paprika and chipotle powder, cracked sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Chop 1 lb. red potatoes into bite size chunks, toss with the olive oil. Spread out on a baking pan (I lined it with foil for less mess).

Bake at 450-500 degrees (I did it at 500) for 20-25 minutes, turning once or twice, until lightly browned and crispy.

Meanwhile, spray a griddle with baking spray, heat at medium-high, cut 12 oz. of chorizo into small discs (I accidentally got a kind that was uncooked sausage, instead of the nice dry sausage that I've seen, so look at the package carefully), cook until browned on each side.

Mix potatoes & sausage together, sprinkle with a couple tbsp. of chopped parsley, and serve with sauce.

Bravas sauce (serves 4-6)

I don't know how authentic this is, but I tried to imitate what I had tasted in a local restaurant. I started with about 1 cup mayonaisse, and stirred in 3-4 tbsp. of lemon juice, 2-3 minced garlic cloves, 1-2 tsp. paprika, and 1/2 tsp. each smoked paprika and chipotle powder.

Serve with the potatoes and chorizo.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 8:02 AM | Comments (6)

January 17, 2009

My Kitchen, My World: Cuba

The first country of the New Year--Cuba!

I made Cuban black bean soup, and beef empanadas. I had planned to make them the same night, but ran out of time, so we had them separately. But I froze the leftovers for next time. I adapted two recipes out of The Joy of Cooking.

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Here's sort of what I did.

Empanadas

1) Brown two lbs. of ground beef with two chopped onions, and several cloves of garlic. Drain.
2) Add 1 cup diced potatoes, 1 cup or so of tomato juice and/or chopped tomatoes, cumin and coriander to taste (1-2 tsps. each), and salt and pepper to taste
3) At this point, I simmered it until the potatoes were tender, and the juice was absorbed, and divided the meat in half.

To half I added
1/2 tsp. each oregano and thyme
1/4 cup diced green olives

To the other half--which became pseudo-samosas, I added 1 tblsp. mild curry powder.

Let cool.

4) I bought and thawed 20 goya empanada circles. I stretched each slightly, put a couple tablespoons of filling on each, wet the edges with water and sealed it by pressing it with a fork.

5) Then I brushed each with an egg and milk wash (1 egg, 1/2 cup milk, a little salt), and baked them for 25 minutes or so at 400 degrees until golden brown. I'm sure they would have been better deep-fried, but I couldn't quite bring myself to deep fry pastries filled with beef (!). Maybe next time I'll spray them with cooking spray, pan fry, and then bake? Don't know, Tim didn't like the eggy coating so much.

6) I froze the rest. Tonight we had the samosa style ones with a vegetable jalfrezi stew. And they were even better warmed again.

Cuban Black Bean Soup

The black bean soup was pretty close to this, except I used chipotle powder instead of canned chipotle peppers. I actually used the Joy of Cooking recipe and used way too much water, and had to simmer it down. I also used a leftover ham bone I had frozen from a family get together, and shredded the meat after it simmered for a few hours. I sprinkled it with some crumbled feta when I served it.

After eating it for days in a row, I froze the leftovers to have over rice sometime in the future.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 8:38 PM | Comments (4)

December 20, 2008

My Kitchen, My World: The Philippines

So, this week, we took a culinary trip to the Philippines. One of my challenges in My Kitchen, My World has been to find things I can make with food we have in the house. A non-necessary trip to the grocery store has been made much more, uh, of an adventure with two one-year olds. Especially since the time we went to the grocery store and they took turns throwing a toy out of the cart so many times that the checkout bagger offered to help me next time we went shopping. Haven't been back to that store with the kids yet. So, now, I usually wait until Tim is home, and he can watch the kids or we can go together. Or, if I'm desperate, I'll go to a store that has one of those nifty double-car-buggies. They're excited to honk their horns all through the store, and all items stay neatly tucked inside the cart.

I digress.

I found a recipe for that was a perfect way to use a bag of mung beans leftover from the great Mung Bean Disaster of Wightman Street.* Here's the recipe: Philippine Mung Beans in Coconut Milk This time, I soaked the mung beans. Also, I left out the fresh chilis, and used a little chipotle powder to taste. We don't like things *too* spicy.

In digging around the internet, I found out that traditionally, hot dogs are served with Filipino fried rice. At first this sounded, well, rather more like deep-deep-deep-South food than anything else. I also saw pairings of fried rice with Chinese sausage. Having neither in the house, I substituted some kielbasa. Here's the recipe I used for the process: Filipino Pork Fried Rice with a Twist

The mung bean stew was really good. But the fried rice would qualify as an addictive substance. The smokiness of the meat played perfectly against the slight saltiness of the soy sauce and the creaminess of the eggs and rice. And I imagine that if you used a good quality hot dog, it would be just as good. I never would have though of it, but wow. We ate it for lunch and dinner for a couple of days, and still have some leftover.

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*Wherein my roommate and I attempted to recreate a Kenyan recipe she half-remembered, neither of us knowing that mung beans have to be soaked before using, resulting in food cooked for hours and ending up the consistency of dried mud, which we both valiantly ate in order not to hurt the other's feelings.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 7:13 PM | Comments (1)

December 15, 2008

My Kitchen, My World: France

A day late on this one...

I'm hoping in the new year, I'll get to do much more of this. Between dissertation and kids, I didn't virtually visit as many countries as I would have liked. Or when I did make the food, I didn't find time to blog about it.

So, here's our French meal: French onion soup. It was a nice trip down memory lane for us as we reminisced about the little cafes where we ate on the streets of Paris.

I looked at the crockpot lady's recipe, and the one in Joy of Cooking, and sort of went from there with ingredients we had on hand. I didn't have enough time to fully crockpot it, but I didn't want to leave it on the stove when I went to pick up Tim, so I compromised. You could do it fully on the stove, or fully on the crockpot, just tweak it.

French Onion Soup
6 tblsp. butter
3-4 medium onions, sliced into rings
4 garlic cloves thinly sliced (just for fun)
1/2 tsp. herbes de provence

1) Cook onions and garlic and herbes de provence in butter on medium-high until starting to color, then turn down, put lid on and stir occasionally. I did it until it was a light caramel color, since I knew it was going into the crockpot to cook longer. You can do it a little darker.

2) Dump contents into crockpot. Pour over:

1 beer (I used a fall ale with hints of yummy spices). Most recipes called for white wine, but we didn't have any on hand
3.5-4.5 cups beef broth (I made some up with some good boullion we have. I'm sure homemade would be much better)

3) Cook in crockpot on low for 2 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

We don't have any oven-proof bowls, so I couldn't do the traditional toast with cheese broiled on top of the soup. So, I toasted a few pieces of bread until dry and crispy, grated gruyere cheese on top, and then broiled until the cheese bubbled and served it along-side the soup.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 2:44 PM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2008

My Kitchen, My World: German Oktoberfest

(I'm allowing myself some blog time because I have a babysitter this afternoon so I can work on my dissertation) (woohoo!!!!!!)

Here's our little Oktoberfest celebration this week.

Beer-Basted Sausage with Caramelized Onions and German Mustard

I cooked the onions, and then threw in thickly diced kielbasa (which we had in our freezer) and cooked it with the onions. I threw in too much cornstarch to thicken the sauce, so had to add more beer, so that we didn't end up with "caramelized onions and sausage in glue." Actually, I added a whole beer. So it was more like sausage and caramelized onions in a beer-mustard sauce. But it was good!

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And to go with it, Bavarian German Potato Salad Recipe

Didn't have chives, and couldn't figure out when to put in the onions from the recipe, so I chopped up three green onions instead.

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Some pickles, pumpernickel and a Samuel Adams Oktoberfest to go along with it.

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And we ate it while watching a Rick Steves video on Germany to complete our virtual travel experience.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 10:47 AM | Comments (3)

My Kitchen, My World: Cambodia

Okay, I made this last week, and never found the time to blog about it.

I made Cambodian Lemongrass Curry.

The recipe is for a basic curry with your choice of meats and vegetables. I used thinly sliced chicken breast, thickly chopped onions, a bag of mixed vegetables (broccoli, water chestnuts, red bell peppers, snap peas), and a red bell pepper. We didn't have shallots, so I threw in some extra garlic. We didn't have shrimp paste, so I used a combination of soy sauce and Thai fish sauce. And we left out the jalapenos, to make it a little milder, but I think a little would have been nice.

Here are some of the fun ingredients--most of them leftover from a fun trip to the Dekalb Farmer's Market a couple weeks back.

Minced lemon grass, galangal, lemon grass reeds, and wild ("kaffir") lime leaves.

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And more domestic, but still pretty, basil, onions, red bell peppers.

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And here's the final result. The flavor is really bright, almost tropical. A lot like Thai curries I've made, but a little more citrusy.

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Here are other recipes people made:
Curry Mouan
Coconut Pork Skewers
Chicken Stir-fry with Mushrooms
Curried Shrimp and Noodle Soup
Caramelized Pineapple and Tofu
Cambodian curry (and some fascinating history about Cambodia)
Cambodian Tapioca-Banana Pudding (this blog is really fun, btw, lots of exotic foods made inexpensively)

(if I missed anyone, let me know!)

Posted by Tim and Jo at 10:27 AM | Comments (2)